Wille Transport, Inc. started out very small in 1972 when Dick Wille moved to Deer River, MN and began hauling wood chips from Rajala Timber Company in Deer River to Boise Cascade's paper mill in International Falls, MN. As Rajala's business expanded with more lumber sales nationwide, Dick bought two trucks and hired his brother, Don Wille and friend, Roy Bain to be the first "over the road" drivers for Wille Transport, Inc.
A year later, in 1973, Randy Cook rode along on a couple of trips with Don Wille to "learn the ropes" and follow a life-long desire to get into the trucking industry. Dick hired Randy to drive the third truck in the small, but busy Wille Transport fleet. Soon after that, Dick's brother-in-law, Arnie Olson joined the team and remains on that team yet today, having driven for Wille Transport for over 30 years!
In 1976, some glare ice roads and heavy winds in western North Dakota nearly wiped out two thirds of the entire Wille Transport fleet. Roy and Randy were running west loaded for Calgary, AB when Roy's truck was forced into the ditch by an out-of-control pickup. Randy came upon the accident and pulled over and parked on the shoulder to help Roy out, when a fire engine from nearby Williston lost control and ran right into Randy's parked truck (he jumped into the sleeper when he saw the fire truck coming)! Both trucks were "totaled". Imagine that phone call to the boss "We just lost two of your three trucks!" But Dick's motto was "Perseverance!" He maintained a steady course, adding a truck or two to the fleet gradually over the years.
After 12 years of running over-the-road, Randy was offered the job of dispatching, by Dick in 1985. When he first started doing the dispatching for Dick, the fleet was at 6 trucks. There were no computers at that time. Dick and Randy worked together for many years adding to the fleet and expanding the business.
In 1992, Wille Transport was given the honor of hauling National Christmas Tree to Washington, DC. The tree was chosen from the nearby Chippewa National Forest for this special honor. Wille Transport, Inc. was given special recognition for the professional job of hauling the "Tree to DC" and it remains a highlight to company history.
In 1998, Dick agreed to sell the business to Randy. Wille Transport, Inc. continues today to be a family-run business. The management team is lead by Randy and his wife Diane and they remain active in all day-to-day activities of the company. Randy and Diane's daughter and son-in-law, Emily and Tom Zahn are also part of the management team, helping to manage the office and dispatching. Wille Transport, Inc. has many employees that have worked for the company over ten years. The operation includes an excellent shop crew as well.
From the small beginnings, over 30 years ago, Wille Transport has grown to a fleet of 50 trucks with Wille Transport, Inc. on the door, while still maintaining a small family atmosphere. With the addition of modern technology, satellite communications, state of the art computer systems and top of the line equipment and some of the best people in the industry, we have grown into a successful business with a very bright future.